Composting has been used for many centuries as a system for disposal of organic waste, to produce organic fertilizer and to improve soil biological fertility. Composting technologies were described with technical details for the first time in the history by the Knights Templar in 1200 a.d. (de Bertoldi, 1999; Dailliez, 1981). To day, one might expect that since sciences like microbiology, soil biology and agronomy are well developed, composting processes should be fully optimized and perform at an exceptional level. Unfortunately, many composting plants continue to have serious problems in management and control of the process. The introduction of sophisticated mechanical technologies instead of improving the composting process have complicated its management.

Despite the variety of composting plants present on the market, the design and operation of composting systems to improve the rate of hygienization and of the process are still an unreached objective. The composting process evolves through a thermophilic phase followed by a mesophilic one. The metabolism of the microorganisms involved in the process is deeply disturbed by environmental changes, like temperature, oxygen level , moisture, C/N ratio, pH, nutrient availability and physical structure. For each environmental parameter, each microbial population has an optimum value at which the grow is maximum and a range (cardinal interval) inside which growth occurs but at lower degrees. The further the environmental conditions are from the optimum value the slower the growth. Outside this range the growth stops and sometimes the microorganisms die. Each microorganism involved in the composting process has a specific range of growth and an optimum value for each parameter, different from the other microorganisms. It is clearly impossible in a composting process to maintain simultaneously all the microorganisms in the best growing conditions, as it happens in continuous culture.

Copyright: © IWWG International Waste Working Group
Quelle: Specialized Session D (Oktober 2007)
Seiten: 8
Preis inkl. MwSt.: € 8,00
Autor: Prof. Marco de Bertoldi

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